ASHEVILLE, NC 1.20.21—As the 2020 college basketball season was finally underway many teams are acclimating to the reality of playing in empty arenas. The 2020 Camping World Maui Invitational, hosted at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, partnered with innovative companies across the board to provide participating teams with the next best fan experience.
In order to recreate the roar and intimate atmosphere of the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, the Tournament partnered with leading German audio technology and solution company d&b audiotechnik to use their Fanblock system, powered by Autograph Stadium Sound, at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, NC. Despite zero attendance, Fanblock was able to recreate the experience for the participating teams in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
d&b Fanblock, powered by Autograph Stadium Sound, delivers a real-time controlled, sound solution to venues without fans or with a reduced number of fans on site. Using a d&b sound system design positioned within an arena, d&b Fanblock creates a multi-channel surround sound system which, when combined with Autograph’s cutting-edge playback software, stadiums can once again be filled with the much-missed sound of fans.
In order to host the Camping World Maui invitational safely for all eight participating teams (Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV) the Tournament worked closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission to ensure alignment with local guidance on mass gatherings. In the end, this meant restricting attendance to only essential staff and no spectators.
Not only did the players benefit from the pioneering technology from d&b and Autograph, fans at home were able to experience the sounds of the stadium while games were broadcast live. The basic audio content consists of non-team specific sounds including background ‘bed’ loops to provide a continual atmosphere within the stadium and a library of sound cues that can be triggered by operators in reaction to the action. The custom sound design package offers club-specific chants made possible through Autograph’s content partner, FanChants. Fanblock can also benefit hybrid events with socially distanced audiences to bring more energy and excitement to the players.
Stadium Sound creates a live crowd atmosphere at sports events that can be dynamically controlled in real-time to directly respond to the events of the game. The system is operated live by engineers in the stadium in order to follow the energy levels and punctuate the dramatic moments as they happen.
d&b Fanblock uses the matrix functions of the DS100 Signal engine to distribute audio to the loudspeaker system. As the backbone of d&b Soundscape, the DS100 Signal engine enables further enhancement of Fanblock through its En-Scene software allowing complex sound events to move dynamically around the stadium in real-time and add additional subtlety and detail to the effect of Stadium Sound in response to the actions on the field. This approach allows the sound engineer to have spectator chants grow from one section before building out to fill the entire stadium. The En-Space software option further adds to Fanblock by allowing the audience sounds to emulate larger venues, which enables realistic experiences for viewing parties and other events held outside the sporting facility.
The system is scalable and can be put in any size park, stadium or arena around the world.